updated 07:25 pm EST, Tue January 19, 2010
Phones from LG, others clear of Verizon ETF
Verizon has quietly but consciously moved away from its early termination fee hike with a change to the list of phones that fit under its advanced devices list. The new list saves many of the non-smartphone devices from being attached to the $350 cancellation fee, including LG enV models, the Motorola Krave and the Samsung Rogue. Virtually all remaining devices are clear smartphones such as the Motorola Droid and the BlackBerry range.
Officially, advanced devices now include those that have more than one important processor, an HTML web browser and Wi-Fi, though some devices like the BlackBerry Pearl 8130 only use 3G to get online.
A company spokesperson didn't have a reason for the change, which lets those with regular phones pay a more modest $175. Either plan is prorated and sheds $10 of the ETF with each passing month, but this still leaves customers paying $120 or more even if they're at the very end of their contracts.
The reduction may be linked to a deepening FCC investigation which has expressed concern at the suddenness and allegedly weak justifications for the hike. FCC officials are worried that the company is using ETF increases to subsidize other services rather than the publicly stated goal of recouping the financial loss of customers canceling phone service early.